*Disclaimer: This post was written in fewer than 1080 words.
If you’re a video game publisher and you’re saying your latest product is going to have a 1080p resolution, you’re not going to get away with it again. There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Douglas Ladore. Mr. Ladore is suing Sony for false advertising over the resolution of the multiplayer mode in Killzone: Shadow Fall after buying it on the promise of next-gen graphics and feeling disappointed by the fact that they weren’t rendered in full 1080p. Yes, it’s come to this.
Upon hearing this news, a couple of questions immediately popped into my head. First was “People play Killzone: Shadow Fall’s multiplayer?” After wrapping my head around that one, I wondered to myself what exactly the issue was. So, I checked out the Eurogamer article from March that apparently sparked this whole mess. In a nutshell, here’s the issue: Killzone: Shadow Fall‘s multiplayer uses something called Temporal Upscale which basically fills in gaps and uses a kind of technical sleight of hand to achieve pretty much the same thing as 1080p without technically being 1080p.
While I don’t profess to be any kind of expert on the specific ins and outs of this process, I do feel confident that it should probably be far less of a big deal than it’s become. No question there are people who are super-invested in keeping tabs on this kind of detail in their favorite titles. I’ve seen enough comments on N4G to know that there is an extremely vocal contingent of gamers who are obsessed with how many pixels one game (or version of a game) has compared to another. In terms of console preference, the magic number of 1080p is often the glove that PS4 fans use with which to slap Xbox One fans across the face, so for one of Sony’s flagship titles to be outed as a big old resolution faker is embarrassing to say the least.
Now I get that there are some people who are not necessarily freaking out about the aspect ratio specifically. Rather, they are upset out of principle that a company shouldn’t be promoting something as one thing while not delivering exactly that. It’s a fair point, and there’s certainly precedent in this industry of companies over the years trying to give a false impression of how a game looks prior to its release (yes, I’m looking at YOU, Aliens: Colonial Marines). However, in my opinion the difference between what was promised versus what was delivered was far greater than what we’ve got here. I guess we’ll just have to let California’s courts decide that one.
The real kicker in all of this is that Killzone: Shadow Fall is a pretty damn good looking console game regardless of how it achieves its resolution, and who knows if people would have even noticed were it not for that Eurogamer article in the first place. It just seems so silly; to me, being preoccupied with the resolution on your amazing looking video game is like finding an oasis in the desert and then whining about having to drink out of a dirty glass.
Alas, the United States is a free country, and that means you can sue a video game publisher for not being 100% explicit about how they got their game to look pretty. On top of forcing Sony to stop advertising it as 1080p, Mr. Ladore is also looking for $5 million in damages, because of course he is.